Paul: Make sure you are in the right place, because if you are a perfect parent, this is not for you. This planet is populated with imperfect people. In fact, I think that's perfect. I have a little mantra and I do this with my clients. Vicki, you've heard this before.
You are perfectly designed to be imperfect.
Paul: It's part of our innate, I think divine design, that we have imperfections, we have weaknesses. There's a reason for that. In fact, there's a lot of reasons for that. But it's something that bothers us a lot, too.
Paul: And we've got some advice for you today as an imperfect parent. First of all, welcome to earth. You are in good company. Every other parent on the planet is also imperfect. And so, let's just lighten up a little bit, shall we?
Vicki: Embrace it a bit.
Vicki: And in another sense, maybe you are not as imperfect as you think.
Paul: You know, this just takes me back to a time when my oldest was maybe 15-years old. And there were some storms brewing in the household.
Vicki: It happened in the Jenkins' home. 2 strong minds pitted against each other at times. And I remember having a really, really strong impression one day when I was on a walk trying to cool myself down. And I remember thinking, “You know, there might be other people, other parents that could provide him with this or handle this situation better.”
Paul: Do a better job than me.
Vicki: But nobody… Nobody is going to love him better than me. I am the perfect parent for him when it comes to love. Moms always feel that way. At Live On Purpose we talk so much about, “Your main job is to love your child.” So, if that's true, then I am perfect at that. Because no one will love my son or any of my children the way that I do. So, just give yourself a little bit of a pat on the back and take a big sigh and realize that you love your child the best. And so, that makes you…
Paul: The perfect parent for your child. Vicki, I love that concept. You are the perfect mother for our children. You are the perfect mother for your children. I had Christie Gardiner come and do a video at Live On Purpose Channel on YouTube. I will give a link at the end of the article. Christie wrote the book, You Are The Mother Your Children Need. Don't you love that concept? Nobody else can do this job better than you can. As Vicki pointed out, your job is to love them no matter what and even if. You are better qualified to do that than any other person on the planet. So, let's just quit beating ourselves up that we are not the perfect parent. You are the perfect parent for your kids.
Vicki: Now, if you'll remember, I said when I was first having this kind of crisis in my parenting moment and I was coming to this realization, I acknowledged there might be situations that I could handle a lot better or somebody else could handle better. It dawned on me that “You know, I was doing the very best that I could. I'm doing the very best that I can at the moment that I am in with the sleep that I've had, the information that I had.” All of the information that I had and I think that's really important to go back and remember that you are doing the very best you can at the moment that you are in. And when you know better, you do better.
Paul: I love that, and it could always be better. This is part of what I teach in my core curriculum when I'm coaching people on positivity. It could always be better. That's not a reason to beat yourself up, and honestly, when is that going to stop being true?
Vicki: It's a good way to look back and forgive your earlier self, because you did the absolute best you could. You know, I know that I did the best I could at the moment that I was in and I figure everything else is going to work itself out. That gets to be my child's journey of working through whatever didn't go the way they expected in their childhood.
Paul: It's really easy to slip into that trap of, “Well, if I would have only known then what I know now…” Well, you didn't. And you did the best that you knew how to do with what you had at the time.
When you know better, do better.
Vicki, we read a book years ago. Do you remember, The Knight In Rusty Armor? There was a line from that book that has always stayed with me. It has to do with as soon as we learn to accept rather than expect, we experience far less disappointment in our life. Those words are very similar. Accept and expect. Sometimes, we just have way too many expectations for ourselves. Accept what it is. That doesn't mean you are going to stay there. You are going to move forward. You are going to make improvements. We will help you with that, but accept what it is in the here and now, and like Vicki was saying, acknowledge that you are doing the best you know how to do with what you have. And as you know better, do better.
Vicki, I think this also creates some permission for others. Let me tell you what I mean because when we hold ourselves to an impossible perfectionistic standard, it sends a little subtle message to other people in our world that we kind of expect that from them too.
Vicki: Some of the greatest relief I've ever received in my life is when people I really trust and love have kind of just lowered that shield and let me see into their imperfections. It kind of gave me permission to embrace my imperfections of my struggles and then by embracing that… You know, you can't really progress forward if you don't even accept where you are. You have got to know where you are at before you can move forward. I'm thinking of some specific times when someone I really loved really showed me their challenges and struggles, and it allowed me to embrace mine so that I could get the help I needed to move forward. That also happens with our children. If they are being raised thinking that we are perfect, how is that going to help them in their journey of growth?
Paul: Oh… And it's our children that matter the most. But this also spreads out to other people within our influence. As you let go of the perfectionism and accept who you are and where you are, that gives other people the permission to do the same. Some of those barriers come down like you were saying, Vicki, we get more real with each other. That's very liberating. And it creates an opportunity now for our kids to learn something that is far more healthy and adaptive for their own life.
I hope you feel a little better after listening in on that conversation. We are having other conversations all the time in our Positive Parenting Coaching Groups. I think you might really like this. The way to get involved is to schedule a free discovery call with one of our coaches. We'll let you know all about it. There's a link down in the description. drpauljenkins.com/breakthroughcall.